Name of organisation
Garden of the Liceo Taller San Miguel
Own resources. We are already initiating the process to obtain external resources, due to the growth of a project that was born around a wetland small in size, but immense in biological richness, generating a scientific movement that was presented in 2012 at the Panamerican Conference on Wetland Systems for Water Quality Improvement, Management and Care. (Panamerican Conference on Wetland Systems for Water Quality Improvement, Management and Treatment) as an educational experience; to date it is being presented in Puerto Rico, in an international workshop on lichenology, our environmental research group, pioneer in the recovery of the wetland, is invited to the III International Congress of Lichenology to be held in Colombia, in the month of April 2014. Thanks to DANAPURE, we have discovered life in other ecosystems that we are reforesting as areas of environmental and landscape recovery.
Number of staff
850 people, including students, teachers and other staff.
Number of visitors per year
In addition to our Educational Community, we receive visits from other educational centres, journalists (around 120 people), at the moment and for 6 months, the wetland will not be in service for visitors, due to the fact that work is beginning on the butterfly garden.
Overall aims of the centre
Description of the centre
The school covers an area of approximately 6. 5 hectares, located in a rural area surrounded by forests and vegetation typical of places rich in water resources, we have two streams and a wetland in which we can observe a good number of birds and insects that we are determining taxonomically to build with students an interactive guide of insects especially butterflies that are the reason for our work at the moment, We are using artistic photographs that are exhibited in other schools and museums to raise awareness initially among teachers and students who are located in the ecological corridor in which we share the same waters, vegetation and fauna, seeking to protect them and put an end to inappropriate practices of collecting them, teaching them to observe them and enjoy them in freedom for their conservation. The research work is carried out with students from 4 to 17 years of age, accompanied by teachers and parents who are specialists in the subject. We do not have an exact record of visitors as it is our own students who come to the wetland on a daily basis. We had workshops, supported by the Ozone Division of the Ministry of the Environment, with more than 100 children from low-income schools who were invited to learn about the experience so that it could be replicated in their schools, The wetland area was discovered about 3 years ago in botanical expeditions with the students in a place that was not allowed for them to access because of the dangers posed by pollution with rubbish and other types of waste that were deposited in ignorance of the environmental wealth it had, the cleaning and recovery work was carried out for over two years and the results have been favourable because it has become a site of attraction for insects. Our motto is "A drop from the earth increases our responsibility towards the planet".
Our trajectory in Environmental Education has been highlighted by the UN with our project for the recovery of two streams and the wetland, the participation of 5 primary school students in the XXI International Children's Painting Competition "PAINT FOR THE PLANET 2012" UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM (UNEP), we have also received recognition at local and national level, with the PLANET IN DANGER award, Medal for Environmental Education Merit and other works of our students have been highlighted by public and private companies in Colombia.
The Liceo Taller San Miguel is a private educational institution, which forms bilingual humanist leaders, with a high creative, ethical and academic sense.
The School Environmental Project of Liceo Taller San Miguel is a system that contributes to the formation of humanistic and therefore environmental leaders, with a high sense of creativity to seek solutions to the problems of the planet.
Main CEPA work area
We have had the support of local and some national media, through the Technological University of Pereira. The students of the Faculty of Environment have carried out days to share in the University and talk about the experience with other students of the Faculty of Communication and Fine Arts, some of them have done their internships in our school with the NGO Gree Peace from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia and we have supported the different campaigns that they have shared with us to spread the word. The Ozone Division of the Ministry of the Environment of our country for several years has entrusted us with the celebration of the WORLD DAY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE OZONE LAYER, in which we invite students of scarce resources of our riverside and we share with them different activities to raise awareness about the subject, as well as with the Micro-company AGENDA DEL MAR with whom we work in the publication of the booklet Cartilla del Planeta Azul and the project "El planeta cuenta contigo" (The planet counts on you).
The educational theme is carried out transversally in the different areas of knowledge, starting with mathematics, languages, social sciences, arts, natural sciences and biology, which are appropriate subjects for the study of nature. The example of our wetland is an innovative way of recovering polluted spaces and turning them into open-air school classrooms, where observation is the beginning of our methodological process in the training of researchers, which started with awareness-raising in pre-school. The project has been shared especially with educational institutions, where our students are responsible for raising awareness and creating awareness especially on issues that affect our own riverside, such as illegal wildlife trafficking, water pollution due to poor waste disposal and other problems associated with rural communities.
Top three successes
Celebrating different dates in the environmental calendar has been an opportunity to reach the entire educational community with messages of conservation and environmental protection. The promotion of our ALAS project, which seeks to recover the areas surrounding the wetlands and turn them into gardens of butterflies in the wild, represents a very ambitious project for the school, giving students and visitors the opportunity to interact with them directly. Learning how they reproduce and how they live from the larval stage awakens in people a sense of protectionism that augurs well for the success of the project, which is only in its initial stages. We already have a tight budget and being able to see our young people become environmental cartoonists and photographers encourages us to go ahead with our natural butterfly garden.
We belong to a rural educational nucleus where there are more than 20 schools with more than 1000 children of low economic resources, so we are waiting for the response of the Regional Autonomous Corporation CARDER, to support us so that we can invite the children of 5th grade of primary school from at least 10 schools (320 students) to learn about our experience and replicate it in some schools where there are wetlands or spaces that can be recovered and converted into outdoor classrooms.
Top three challenges
To recover an area contaminated by rubbish where it was not known that there was a wetland of such importance and to get the educational community enthusiastic to participate in the hard days of work.
To turn the wetland into a school classroom with its own living research laboratory and to sensitise teachers to understand its scientific value.
To start and build a butterfly garden around the wetland, to increase its population and that of the different insects that have arrived attracted by the environmental offer they have found; we must manage economic resources to design and build an interactive insect guide and that the place has safe boundaries for visitors, plant host and food plant species to sustain the insect population in a balanced way and to replicate the experience in other schools.
It has not been easy to get to where we are today, as we were not familiar with the subject and at the beginning we introduced plant species that were not suitable for swampy places and that on the contrary affected the conservation of the water. We also tried to build a butterfly farm without success because we did not think at the beginning that breeding butterflies should be a project conducted by biologists or experts in the field. In addition, there was not enough space to have a greenhouse with its respective laboratory for the handling of larvae and chrysalises.
The mistakes we made initially due to ignorance, we have turned them into strengths that we share with the people who visit us, so that the experience can be successfully replicated in places where we can detect wetland areas and green spaces that are not used and can become living laboratories; a huge challenge that we intend to meet, is to visit the different schools in our area, to help them to carry out similar work.
Creating signage; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools
Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre; Building / maintaining structures
Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
PR and marketing; Fund-raising; Project planning.
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